Not everyone happy with EDI
Original post made on Sep 13, 2012
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 14, 2012, 12:00 AM
on Sep 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm
EDI epitomizes the worst of teacher-centered pedagogy. I won't go as far as calling it a "scripted approach" to teaching, but it's pretty darn close. Not only does it removes creativity and divergent thinking from the classroom, there is no room for collaboration, project based learning, and just as important, learning activities that promote social and emotional development among students.
I am surprised Google chose to invest their money in this program. Given that Google's founders were "out of the box" thinkers, they are putting money into a program that does not promote creativity or divergent thinking. Someone at Google messed up big time.
The school district also blew it here. The article is correct in pointing out that the school district lacks a mechanism for teacher feedback. The district's "one size fits all" approach is a serious concern. If EDI were a tool that teachers could use when appropriate, then this wouldn't be much an issue. It's not! Teachers are expected to implement EDI in all their subjects, all the time, without any deviation from the "script." Hence, the term "EDI Police" has now emerged among community. There used to be a time when teachers were hired and expected to make professional and educated decisions about the children in the classroom. EDI's "teacher proof" lessons allow anyone off the street to deliver "learning" to our kids.
The school district also blew it here. While nearby districts are investing in Common Core Standards, STEM, and Next Generation Science Standards, the district office chose to spend what limited resources it has on a system, developed in 1960s and geared towards low-income, disadvantage populations in urban cities (look up Project Follow Through).
The school district also blew it here. There is absolutely no evidence that EDI has contributed to the growth in test scores. To do so, one would have to identify students who received full implementation of EDI in their classrooms, and then measure growth v. students who did not receive EDI. I challenge the district to produce data that shows a causal link. The district also claims to have broad support. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim.
Still not convinced that EDI is not what we need in our schools, check out the following link, Direct Instruction advocates love this:
Who knows? Maybe your kindergartener will be solving Algebra problems very soon. Can't wait to see your 6th grader solving Calculus equations.
Bottom line: This is a way to raise test scores and nothing more. I'll leave you with this excerpt from the article link below:
Door #1: If our goal is to accelerate short-term learning of predetermined and easily tested academic knowledge and skills (regardless of broad and long-term effects), then direct instruction would be judged to be clearly more effective.
Door #2: However, what if we want what works best in the long run for the range of goals we value most for children, including real-world competence in subject matter plus creativity, love of learning, initiative, problem-solving, independence, critical thinking, citizenship, good decision-making, communication skills, leadership, and to be caring, happy, and healthy? If we really want this, then education with substantial child-initiated and jointly-planned learning is clearly superior.
on Sep 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm
Bottom line is that our students who are most at risk aren't doing well with our current pedagogical strategies. I don't think we new robots, but there is a mathematical fluency that is needed. Does a kid really need to problem solve six ways to add 3+4. In the last 10-20 years so much new knowledge has been created that in order to progress, we have to be more efficient learners.
I think about Picasso. He was a divergent and innovative artist, but he also had basic technique and understanding.
I think many who dislike EDI lack an understanding of its purpose. It's a strategy to teach new learning. One can still do projects. The idea is that we want to increase students learnin the first time to be more efficient so we have time to have students work collaboratively I. A meaningful way.
It's the inverse of what many are already doing. If done correctly and thoughtfully, students will be able to correctly apply knowledge they have gained through acquiring mathematical fluency.
on Sep 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm
@Teacher: You do not know for certain that link between "current pedagogical strategies" and "at-risk children" is the one to blame here. Take a look at Sean Reardon's Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances. In this analysis, "Family income is now nearly as strong as parental education in predicting children's achievement." Unless you know for certain which pedagogical strategy is being used, you cannot say that it is failing. It may very well be that the "at-risk" student is "failing" for other reasons. For example, the authors point out that "increasing parental investment in children's cognitive development" is a huge predictor for academic success. Did you know that "between birth and age six, wealthier children will have spent as many as 1,300 more hours than poor children on child enrichment activities such as music lessons, travel, and summer camp" and "that a child from a poor family is two to four times as likely as a child from an affluent family to have classmates with low skills and behavior problems." The public school system is not designed to close this type of gap: it does not guarantee equality of outcome.
@Teacher: Many feel that our public school system should focus less on efficiency, and more on effectiveness. There is no evidence that we need to be more efficient because of something that has happened in the last 10-20 years. Check out Tony Wagner's Creating Innovators. The key is not efficiency, but rather developing a culture of innovation based on "collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation." EDI does nothing to promote what many leaders now think is critical educational foundation for the next generation.
@Teacher: I agree that EDI's purpose is to "teach new learning." It is not, however, the reason for the "dislike." I encourage you to read How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom, the research based cognitive backbone for how Next Generation Science Standards are being developed (coming soon, 2013-2014).
@Teacher: The real question is choosing Door #1 or Door #2. Are you willing to risk what works best for children in the long run for a higher test score this year?